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Weston Wagons West - Episode L21 - Levi Weston in Oak Springs in 1875

Updated on November 19, 2017
DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

First 20 Lx Episodes now in eBook format; available at Amazon.com

Cover of eBook; available at link mentioned below
Cover of eBook; available at link mentioned below

Overview of this series to date and future

The first twenty episodes of this Lx series essentially have chronicled the life of Levi Weston, born in St. Louis in 1823, and then moved with his family to Jefferson City, Missouri. As he became of age, he became involved in our fictional Oak Springs in the southern Missouri Ozarks, the site of my other “The Homeplace Saga” family saga, historical fiction stories. This included the trauma of the Civil War. These stories got us to 1874. These stories were all Levi-centric, that is, they were told from his point of view. Many stories of the period of 1876 through 1886, with Levi as a supporting character, have been shared in the two series, “Life in Oak Springs,” and, “The Kings of Oak Springs” over 80 episodes.

With L21, this series will resume with 1875, returning with Levi-centric stories. There will be some overlap with “The Homeplace Saga” stories mentioned above, but the focus here will shift slightly to the extended family of Levi, his parents, and their other children and grandchildren, as well. This series will add richness to “The Homeplace Saga” stories but also return to some of the traditional “Weston Wagons West” themes that appear elsewhere in this overall series and eventually tie back into other characters in these WWW stories. Also, the timeline of this Lx series resumption is not predetermined. I hope you enjoy the return of this series of stories here on HubPages.

Levi cared for horses

Horses in pasture
Horses in pasture

Status review as we entered 1875

Levi, 52 years of age early in the year, had been back in Oak Springs for nearly five years. He provided farrier services to local horse owners, looking after their horses’ health and welfare. He was a skilled blacksmith, but only used those skills in his own business operations, where he built custom carriages and wagons. He also produced handcrafted smaller wooden objects for his customers. Finally, he bred and trained his own herd of Morgan Horses, occasionally selling some of his herd as well as offering stud services to selected customers.

Back in Jefferson City, his father, Jacob, and younger brother, Hiram, 39, continued to be totally devoted to the Weston-McDonald Freight Lines operations. Since the freight line partnership had been created, and subsequent incorporation, Harry McDonald had served as Executive Vice-President of the line. Harry was from Oak Springs and still had a son and daughter who lived there, and he and his wife, Sarah, still owned considerable property there.

Levi’s other brother, Ezra, 43 in 1875, had taken the responsibility to continue the farrier, blacksmith and wagon building businesses started earlier by Jacob and Levi in the Jefferson City area. Ezra and his wife had two sons, Alfred born in 1857, and Otis born in 1862, whom they hoped would eventually continue the family ownership and operation of their businesses. Hiram, in contrast, had one daughter, Ella, also born in 1862.

Alfred would be celebrating his 18th birthday in June of 1875. He had been working in the family business having completed his formal apprenticeships under his father at age 16. These age specific accomplishments had always been important in the Weston family. Otis would be 13-years-of-age in March 1875 and in his first year of apprenticeship as a farrier. In this traditional Jewish family, the 13th birthday carried great significance.

Levi returned to his work

Caring for horses was his business
Caring for horses was his business | Source

Otis celebrated his Bar-Mitzvah recognition in April 1875

When Jewish boys became 13 years of age, they became accountable for their actions (whereas, previously, they were the responsibility of their parents). This time is very special to the family and to their local religious community and is commemorated with a special event or family meal of recognition shortly after the date of the 13th birthday. Hiram Parks was the current ‘family religious head’ of the family who led the celebration. Hiram was the brother of Otis’ grandmother, Dinah, and therefore a first cousin to Levi, Ezra, and Hiram. Levi assisted Hiram with the traditional portions of the celebration and festival activities.

Levi was pleased to have the opportunity to return to Jefferson City to participate in theses important activities. In Oak Springs, he only observed his religious practices in the privacy of his home, with no other Jewish family in the valley. Levi recognized that others viewed certain religious activities quite differently than did his family. In fact, he realized that even within his extended family, there were variations in observance of different traditions. Levi was tolerant of the beliefs of others, and hoped and expected that others would be tolerant of his, as long as he didn’t flaunt them to others. He firmly believed that each person should be encouraged to explore and discover the belief systems that best met their personal needs and the needs of their family.

During the celebration, for instance, Levi noticed that his nephew, Alfred, did not seem to exhibit much enthusiasm for the rites involving his younger brother, even though he had experienced his own Bar-Mitzvah five years earlier. Levi kept his observations to himself, as he usually did, but he didn’t forget. He did not want to distract from the family celebration, for sure. Following the days of the celebration, Levi returned to his home and farm in Oak Springs, where crops were ready to plant and there were horses that needed his attention.

Note by the author

This episode begins the ‘2nd set of 20’ episodes in this series related to the Jacob and Levi Weston stories. The Levi and Jacob families were included, from time to time, in the Life in Oak Springs and The Kings of Oak Springs stories elsewhere here on HubPages. Those stories occurred during the 1876-1886 time frame. In this present series, that period will be the focus of the first several episodes, but will then continue beyond that period.

As noted in Episode L1 of this series of historical fiction family saga stories, all of the characters in this episode are fictional. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Jacob and Levi Weston characters, as well as the McDonalds, were first created as a part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20 episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

Some of the stories of the "American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1875)" collection of historical fiction family saga short stories have also been published on "The Homeplace Saga" blog, found at the link, below, including those introducing Levi and Jacob Weston.

These first 20 episodes of the Levi Weston story have been compiled into an ebook: “Weston Wagons West: Levi Weston, L1-20 (1823-1874).” Thank you for your support.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Just like this photo... do you like it as well?

A horse in a pasture
A horse in a pasture

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. These people are so real, to me, that sometimes I need to remind myself, as well. I love your comments!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      The story line is so well organized. You are really good at this craft. Thanks for reminding us that it is all fiction; sometimes you make it easy to forget.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Perhaps he had an upset stomach? Doesn't like parties? Guess we'll keep an eye on this, and see how it develops... Thanks, Bill. Have a great week of work, and writing... great to hear a new milestone on your novel!!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And what, exactly, is Alfred's problem? I guess I'll have to wait to find out. Thanks for another history lesson, Bill.

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